No. 22 Pirates complete sweep of Tigers

Published 4:56 pm Monday, March 26, 2007

By By KEVIN TRAVIS, Sports Editor
GREENVILLE — Clark-LeClair Stadium turned into a giant merry-go-round once again for the No. 22 East Carolina Pirates.
ECU, which scored in double digits for the fourth straight game, completed a sweep of the Memphis Tigers with an 11-1 victory on Sunday. The game, played in front of 2,677 fans, was halted in the seventh because of a 10-run mercy rule.
The Pirates (19-6, 3-0 Conference USA), sweeping Memphis (14-9, 0-3) for the first time since 2002, extended their winning streak to 13 straight. It was ECU’s 17th win in the last 18 games.
ECU is off to its best start since 2004, when that team also went 19-6 after the first 25 games en route to playing in a Super Regional.
Ryan Tousley and Dale Mollenhauer each clubbed two-run homers Sunday, every Pirate starter had a hit and the ECU pitching staff held the Tigers scoreless through five innings.
Josh Dowdy (1-1) was the beneficiary of all the run support, winning his first game of the season. The sophomore allowed one run on three hits, striking out one and walking three in 5 1/3 innings. After coming close to winning earlier this season, Dowdy was relieved and happy to get his first of the year.
ECU wasted little time in jumping on Memphis starter Marc Ashley (1-1). Tousley’s two-out, two-run shot into right gave the Pirates a 2-0 lead. It was Tousley’s fifth longball of the season, which is tied for the team lead. The outfielder, who hit his first homer in six games, had been 3-for-24 heading into Sunday’s game.
The Pirates flexed their muscles once again in the fourth. David Forbes and Harrison Eldridge hit consecutive doubles to make it 3-0. Mollenhauer followed with a two-run shot into “The Jungle” for a 5-0 lead. It was the junior’s third homer of the season, and second of the series.
ECU chased Ashley (eight runs on 10 hits in four innings) during a six-run fifth inning. Tousley led off with a single and then stole second. He scooted home on Corey Kemp’s baseknock.
After Drew Schieber slapped a hit, Brandon Henderson laced an RBI-single to give the Pirates a 7-0 lead. Ryan Wood reached on an infield hit, which loaded the bases, for ECU’s fifth consecutive hit. Forbes followed with a sacrifice fly to score Schieber for an 8-0 advantage.
Mollenhauer drew a bases-loaded walk to force in a run and Stephen Batts followed with a two-run rip to extend ECU’s lead to 11-0.
Memphis got on the board in the sixth, ending a 17-inning scoreless drought. K.K. Chalmers walked and eventually scored on a sacrifice fly off the bat of Joey Lieberman.
Shane Mathews closed out the game with 1 2/3 innings of hitless ball.
Five Pirates banged out two hits apiece — Mollenhauer (2-for-3 with three RBIs), Tousley (2-for-4 with two RBIs), Eldridge (2-for-4 with an RBI), Schieber (2-for-3) and Wood (2-for-3).
ECU’s 13-game winning streak ties for the fifth best in school history. ECU can tie the fourth longest streak (14 straight in 1977) Wednesday at home against UNC-Wilmington, which ends the team’s 20-game homestand. Game time is set for 7 p.m.
The school record is 19 straight in 2004. The 1986 and 1989 clubs won 15 consecutive games, tying for the second best in history.
The Pirates return to C-USA play Friday through Sunday at Tulane, their first road games since Feb. 18.